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VOD Services See a Future in DVD Burning

3 Oct, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

Don't look now, but the future is burning. While Internet video-on-demand (VOD) services are still in their early stages, they are already positioning to put the heat on packaged video.

CinemaNow.com, the Web service majority owned by Lions Gate, plans to offer downloads that can be burned to blank DVDs by the end of this year, CEO Curt Marvis said at last week's Digital Hollywood conference in Hollywood, Calif.

Executives at studio-backed Movielink also like the idea. “It's certainly something Movielink would like to evolve to,” said chief technology officer John Godwin.

“Only a subset of users will watch a movie on a PC device, so we are targeting a subset of broadband users and it's not a very big market,” said Movielink VP of business development Tyler Goldman. “There will be a natural progression ... whether it's burning DVDs or wireless connectivity. When a user can watch a movie other than through a PC monitor, that will really grow the market.”

A move to burn-your-own DVDs would probably involve tiered pricing. Products in the marketplace are priced to reflect the amount of use studios expect them to get, said Ron Wheeler, Fox Entertainment Group SVP of content protection.

While VOD services are looking at hard media options, Netflix is looking at VOD. “We currently have more than a million people coming to our site, using our interface and our recommendations and pushing buttons to get movies. So the behind-the-scenes delivery can be completely invisible to the consumer as we transition from mailing discs to downloading films,” said Netflix VP of content acquisition Ted Sarandos.

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